Broncos lose first game this season, Brady in winning return

DENVER (AP) " The nine-game winning streak for the Super Bowl champions came to an end Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons beat the Denver Broncos 23-16 on the same day that Tom Brady made his triumphant return to the NFL.

A week after setting a franchise record with 503 yards passing in a runaway win over Super Bowl 50's other participant, the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 267 yards as the Falcons handed the Broncos (4-1) their first loss since December last year, leaving the Minnesota Vikings (5-0) as the NFL's last unbeaten team.

Ryan converted a fourth-and-1 with a QB sneak that set up a field goal before halftime while tailback Tevin Coleman had four catches for 132 yards and a TD after Devonta Freeman's 1-yard TD on fourth down during the opening drive set the tone for the rest of the game.

"That's our mindset, to attack offensively," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "We just wanted to keep attacking."

Brady, looking razor-sharp at times and relatively rust-free after serving his four-game "Deflategate" suspension, passed for 406 yards and three touchdowns to Martellus Bennett in his hyped return as the New England Patriots thumped the Cleveland Browns 33-13.

Brady was back following a ban for his role in the scandal in which an NFL investigation found the Patriots under-inflated footballs in the 2015 AFC championship game.

He threw two short TD passes in the first half to Bennett before hooking up with his new teammate again on a 37-yarder to give the Patriots a 30-7 lead in the third quarter.

"It's been a fun week getting ready to play and back to what I love to do," Brady said. "And 4-1 is a pretty good place to be right now."

Adam Thielen finished with a career-high 127 yards as the Vikings overran the Texans 31-13 to maintain their perfect start to the season.

Thielen scored a touchdown while Marcus Sherels returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown and Cordarelle Patterson scored on another sharp throw by Sam Bradford, who produced another turnover-free game and deftly guided the Vikings into their bye week.

"When your offense comes out on all cylinders like that, it just juices us up even more and wants us to play harder," defensive end Everson Griffen said. "We've just got to keep doing that."

In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes to lead the Packers to a 23-16 win over the New York Giants while in Detroit, Matt Prater kicked a 29-yard field goal with 1:28 left as the Lions beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-23.

The Washington Redskins used an 85-yard punt return by Jamison Crowder and an uncharacteristically strong performance by their defense to beat the Baltimore Ravens 16-10 and record a third straight win while Ezekiel Elliott ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Bengals 28-14.

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 380 yards and four touchdowns as the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled away in the second half for a 31-13 win over the New York Jets while Derek Carr threw a go-ahead 21-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree on a fourth-and-2 gamble to lead the Oakland Raiders to a 34-31 victory over the mistake-prone San Diego Chargers.

The Buffalo Bills won their third consecutive game by defeating the Rams 30-19, Tennessee overcome a handful of big plays by the Dolphins to win 30-17 in Miami and Andrew Luck threw a 35-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton with 3:43 left to lead the Indianapolis Colts past the Chicago Bears 29-23.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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